For this year, BMW’s factories will be operating above capacity, according to production chief Frank-Peter Arndt in an interview with Automotive News Europe. Arndt cited a Harbour Report that the capacity use for 2011 will be 110%. Full capacity is defined by industry standard Harbour Report as two shifts that work five day a week. Arndt added that having the “right capacity at the right time in the right place” has more importance than the percentage capacity use. BMW has also made sufficient preparations to be able to handle a drop in demand during an economic crisis.
He believes that BMW could handle absorb fluctuations of between 20% and 30%. He said that BMW’s 2011 output will be significantly higher than 1.6 million vehicles. But this isn’t its maximum capacity since it still has some reserved capacity from the phasing out of the present generation 1 series and the 3 series. BMW will be increasing the capacity of its current plants in China, India, South Africa and the U.S.
In addition, it is considering a plan to open a factory in Brazil to produce cars from imported kits. There were reports last week in Germany that BMW will construct a car assembly plant in Sao Paolo, Brazil. If this plan is realized, it would be BMW’s first plant in Latin America. Arndt clarified though that a decision will be made before the year ends.